On Wednesday, November 23, the Canadian men’s national soccer team fell 1–0 to Belgium in their first World Cup game in 36 years. Despite losing, Canadian fans shouldn’t be disappointed in their team. According to FIFA rankings, Belgium is currently the second best country in the world, whereas Canada is ranked 41.
Despite that disparity, John Herdman’s team put up a good fight against the Red Devils, holding their own all game. Canada had 22 shots to Belgium’s nine and drew a penalty in the 10th minute of the game. Unfortunately, Canadian fans were not treated to their country’s first ever World Cup goal as Alphonso Davies was anticlimactically stopped by Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois. Belgium scored the only goal of the game right before the half, when Michy Batshuayi received a long ball and put it past Milan Borjan. That goal was a backbreaker for Canada, and they were never able to tie it up.
So, what went wrong for Canada? They dominated much of this game but didn’t score a goal. This Canadian team has a lot to be proud of, since they went up against one of the best teams in the world. For a team that’s playing in their second World Cup, that’s impressive.
But knowing this Canadian team, they didn’t just come here for a good time. If they want better results, their finishing will have to improve. Despite having 22 shots, only three were on target. That won’t cut it at this level. Canada’s attackers were not clinical enough in front of the net for a team whose eyes look beyond the group stage. Jonathan David will have to step up, and Herdman may want to start Cyle Larin, who looked dangerous once he joined the game in the second half.
While their loss to Croatia during their second game on November 27, marked Canada’s first World Cup goal, but also ends their round of 16 hopes, the Canadian Men’s national team looks to have a good performance against Morocco on December 1 to salvage this trip to Qatar.